I think it has been more than a year ago at least that I promised to do a full shopping guide to the vintage and antique stores in the Meguro neighborhood of Tokyo. Commonly referred to as Interior-dori, it stretches along both sides of Meguro-dori (dori meaning street), south-west of the Meguro train station from just past Yamate-dori, all the way down to the central post office. After my last post mentioning the lack of furniture available here, I got a few kind complaints as to the truth of that statement and thought it time to fully investigate and report on this unusual cluster of stores. These adhere to that “car dealership synchronicity” adage I have talked about elsewhere (here and here, for example) and numerous people, mostly couples, were browsing on the public holiday earlier this week. With a complete lack of parking and the train station a bit of a walk, the density of shops is needed to bring the public.
My tour starts at the intersection of Meguro-dori and Yamate-dori and heads along the south side of the street walking. I stop in at most of the shops on both sides, although there are a few I missed, so the list is not exhaustive. There are also stores tucked away in the back streets near by, such as the lovely Found, but those are not on this tour. Many of the merchants are listed on the MISC (Meguro Interior Shops Community) webpage and the shopping map to the area that can be picked up at participating stores. Both for those really looking to furnish a home to those just looking for small gifts and Japanese styling, it is a fun outing.
While most of the stores are channeling that mid-century vibe or at the very least European shabby-chic, one of the first stores on the south side of the street is Chapter, featuring Japanese antiques.
One of their specialties is repurposing, so antique ranma (transom panels) are turned into consoles, dining tables and wall dividers. There is quite a collection of them at the back of the shop. They have great vintage milk glass fixtures too.
I thought this was ingenious – tucking a hard to use small tansu into a larger modern piece of furniture.
Brunch + SC was one of the first of five or six different Brunch outlets (Brunch Branch, Brunch Works, Brunch Time, etc.) all selling their modern versions of furniture inspired by the mid-century. You can see on their logo map below that they stretch all along the street and line both sides.
Each shop has their own particular pieces, but this photo gives a general sense of the style. There was a western couple shopping here and the sizes of the furniture seemed normal and comfortable. Much of it is teak and order made. Really great chairs (think Wegner Wishbone) at these shops – and they are currently having a chair fest through September.
Brunch Branch nearby had charming garden items.
I had to go into chambre de nimes just based on that stacked luggage in the window.
Everything inside the shop seemed to be imported from France and the place had a real les puces vibe. This was the first of many places that also stocked vintage church pew chairs with a pocket in the back for prayer books. They are super popular here in Japan and I’ve seen them often elsewhere, particularly at the Penny Wise.
And the first, but not the last of the day, of the sewing machine base consoles. New Jersey to Japan – they are everywhere.
The next shop AMS seemed to be different owners on different floors, but the ground floor was full of vintage chandeliers and country-style antiques, including windsor, ladder back and the ubiquitous church chairs.
Next was Junks featuring all kinds of great vintage goods, mostly from the USA, including some favorites of mine such as wooden delivery boxes, printers drawers, old globes, authentic mid-century furniture…
…and this fabulous bottle drying rack for 39,800 yen ($509), which might seem expensive but…
…a similar one was for sale on OKL for the same price on the very same day.
And Becky at Buckets of Burlap just recently put her vintage zinc bottle dryer up for sale for $500.
Gallery S featured a combination of vintage and new furniture, but seemed to specialize in hats. Yes, hats. Love the wooden and painted iron desk and chairs on the right out front.
Tucked away upstairs across the small side street is Point No. 39 which looked promising just from the sign alone! And the word repair was quite intriguing as that is hard to find in Tokyo.
It did not disappoint, being stuffed full of great lighting, furniture and decorative pieces.
I loved the giant sunburst mirror. And by the way, it is also a bicycle store. Go figure!
File Home and Interior was full of gorgeous housewares and also boasted one of the prettiest kitchens I have ever seen in Japan.
Turns out there are a few more File shops across the street including one that actually designs and installs kitchens.
After File, things petered out and before reaching the big Meguro post office I decided it was time to cross to the north side of the street. Anchoring the end on the other side of the street is the giant four floor Geographica. The second floor is home to a charming Italian restaurant Il Levante where I stopped for lunch. There are not many choices for food along the main drag, so I recommend it for a rest or meal.
Geographica was stocked with English antiques – they even carry Sanderson’s line of William Morris Fabrics – and at times felt a bit like a gentlemen’s club. Lots of dark wood, bentwood chairs and framed engravings. One really useful thing they stocked was a full line of knobs and pulls and other hardware. And I love these brass train racks – how great would one of these be in a bathroom? They also have a Yokohama factory shop where they do their restorations.
Pour Annick had more of the golden wood mid-century inspired furniture as well as some fun quirky items.
What about one of these bright stools for the teen bedroom project I am working on?
Since the previous shop that involved climbing stairs was such a success, I made sure to go up to Blackboard.
I was rewarded with industrial chic and some real mid-century pieces.
The curated display of found objects was inspiring too. I forgot to check if they are actually for sale. Blackboard also had some great English language design books.
Roughly across the street from Junks on this side is their sister shop Moody’s full of more vintage furniture and lighting. Many of the pieces had big signs advertising their origins, whether it be Heywood-Wakefied or Eames. It felt like there might be a great find lurking in here.
Meister is one of the leading stores on the street carrying modern versions of those same mid-century design icons, including Nakashima style wood slab tables.
This Eames molded plastic rocker is available for order in a full range of colors and was about $650.
I didn’t go into Stanley, but just the idea that there might be somewhere to have custom upholstery, rehupolstery and slip covers made here in Tokyo was revolutionary. If anyone goes in to inquire about a project, I’d love to hear about it.
The De Mode shop felt the most American of all the shops, channeling the rough luxe thing. Check out those industrial light fixtures! They have Tolix style chair too. If you click into their website, they seem to have a number of other fabulous locations, including a warehouse. Definitely something to explore next!
I found it oddly reassuring to see that I can buy glass Ball jars here although I forgot to check the prices.
Lewis specializes in Danish modern.
And at the very end of the tour, almost back to Yamate-dori are three outlets of a recycle shop called Sone Chika. Japanese recycle shops are akin to thrift stores in America and are hit and miss like you would expect. There are definitely finds to be made, although no luck for me that day.
Most of the stores are open from 11am until about 8pm and Wednesday seems to be the closure day for the area. You might want to call ahead if you are interested in a particular spot. Be sure to click the Shop Talk tab in the category list on the right side of the blog for more store reviews and neighborhood strolls.